Thousands flee Libya as violence continues

The flag of Libya

Thousands of Libyans have fled their homes in the capital Tripoli following the eruption of war between eastern forces and troops loyal to the Tripoli government.

The United Nations says at least 4,500 people had been displaced, most moving away from homes in conflict areas to search for refuge in other cities. Thousands more are however trapped in the capital.

The Libyan National Army (LNA) forces of eastern commander Khalifa Haftar are battling for power with Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj’s soldiers.

The latest incident has killed hopes of an election in the North African country. The two sides had agreed to work towards a national vote to create a democratically elected government.

Libya has been at war for nearly a decade, heightened by the killing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Gaddafi’s death created a void that various armed groups sought to take advantage of.

The chaos in Libya enabled the breeding of various militant groups, including human trafficking rings that made the North African country a preferred departure point for migrants seeking to reach Europe.

Following the latest eruption of violence in the country, U.N. humanitarian agency OCHA said it was extremely concerned about the “disproportionate and indiscriminate use” of explosive weapons in densely populated areas.

Half a million children were at risk, it added.

In Tripoli, nearly 50 people have died, mainly combatants but also some civilians including two doctors, according to latest U.N. casualty estimates. The toll is expected to rise.

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